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Powerbook G4 15in AL Take-ApartReturn to News Page

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Powerbook G4 15in (Aluminum) Disassembly
By John Wolf
Posted: Dec. 8th, 2003

FYI: This article was posted in 2003 - Our FAQ's PowerBook section (and iBook section) links to later/more detailed guides (including PDF downloads) available at iFixit's Take-Apart Guides page.

Note: Disassembly of your Powerbook to this level will void the warranty should any damage happen in the process. Use the info here at your own risk. Consult your owner's manual for ESD and other precautions.

Here are a set of internal photos of the Aluminum PowerBook 15". Getting one open isn't too difficult, however I don't recommend anyone try it who might be worried about voiding their warrantee.

Finding a Philips screwdriver with the right tip is probably the most difficult part. I had a Curtis pocket tweeker that did the job well. You also need a very small Allen wrench for the two screws at the top-rear of the keyboard. I'd guess it is a 1.5mm Allen, but that is just a guess. Arrows in the photos point out all the screw locations.

remove top screws

remove back screws

Note that you don't have to remove all 4 screws from the back hinge. Only the top 2 secure the palm rest and keyboard assembly. Leave the lower 2 screws in place to keep the display secure.

remove bottom screws

With all the screws out, the last step is to get the cover to release at the front of the DVD drive. If you look very closely, there are 3 gaps in the dust cover. They are directly in front of the 3 latch locations.

front int. latches

If you reach in carefully with a small screwdriver, you should be able to pull each latch forward just enough to get it to release. I'm sure Apple has a special tool to do this. DON'T lift the keyboard/palm assembly from the back! If you do, it will just bend the latches. I'd recommend digging your fingernail under the front-right edge and apply upward pressure as you release each latch from right to left. Once the latches all release, the whole assembly can be tilted up and leaned against the LCD display.

    Note: In Dec. 2007 a reader sent a note/warning about the above paragraph, although in 4 years since this article was posted originally nobody else had a problem/concern, but then it's possible there's been variations in the design since the original posting. Check the FAQ for later/better take-apart guides.-Mike

    "regarding the (above) "If you reach in carefully with a small screwdriver..."
    that step in incorrect. If this prying part is followed then bending of the dust cover will happen. and damage will likely incur. I found that if you raise the keyboard from the rear and keep it low and slide it to the rear it will release easily without any prying of the front parts.

front slot latches

top cover latches

palm rest

The whole point to opening this particular PowerBook was to find out why it didn't recognize the AirPort card. It turns out that during assembly a small piece of paper was left in the airport slot, and it was getting wedged into the connector slot. Once I got that out, it worked fine. It wasn't until I had the unit open that I realised I could get to the piece of paper without opening the laptop. Ahh well, the AirPort card works fine now, and when it comes time to swap a hard drive, I'll be confident in opening the new breed of laptops. Speaking of hard drives, looking at the ribbon cable for the HD worries me a bit. It looks like the bend at the top could potentially apply upward tension to the logic board connector and cause it to pop out. Time will tell.

Overall, the internals are very well laid out. Apple has come a long way, even from the Titanium laptops. I appreciate the long cables on the keyboard assembly. The separate circuit board for the power connector might reduce the cost to repair the inevitable power cord yank. What surprized me was the mini-subwoofer inside, at least that is what I assume it is. I think the only changes I'd like to see are an easy to replace hard drive and a docking connector. I'm not really thrilled with the location of the power connector, but it isn't any worse than the former location on the back of the unit where it always got torqued if the laptop was lifted by the front edge.
-John Wolf

Photo showing Logic Bd, Hard Drive, Optical Drive:

= Other Internal Photos =
(linked since this page is already image heavy)

Left Fan, Right Fan and "SubWoofer"

Other Powerbook Related Articles/Tips: See the Powerbok section of the Systems page for other Powerbook articles and guides. The IDE and Firewire topics pages (see links below) also have reviews of notebook hard drives.

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